The Ridgeway (Western Section)

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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Heltor Chasca
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The Ridgeway (Western Section)

Postby Heltor Chasca » 4 Dec 2016, 8:07pm

Weekend trip in the planning:

Has anyone got any pointers for The Ridgeway? Specifically the western section, Avebury to Goring.

I've heard the eastern section is a footpath so cycling is prohibited. Is this true?

What direction is recommended? Not a train smash I guess as I would probably ride in from south of Bath, to Devizes and onward. So I guess I would do a point to point and back the same way.

Would my MTB be my best option at this time of year? I would be camping/wild camping.

Thanks for your help in advance.Image
Last edited by Heltor Chasca on 4 Dec 2016, 8:07pm, edited 1 time in total.

nirakaro
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Re: The Ridgeway (Western Section)

Postby nirakaro » 4 Dec 2016, 9:20pm

I walked it ten of fifteen years ago, loved it. Pretty rough surface and quite muddy IIRC, definitely would want a mountain bike. Good wild camping, though I recollect it was a bit alarming meeting men with guns at about 2am, out shooting rabbits. The only problem I remember was running short of water – taps few and far between.
Direction? I think Avebury's a more inspiring destination than Goring; OTOH if it's windy, better to be heading NE than SW!

hayers
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Re: The Ridgeway (Western Section)

Postby hayers » 4 Dec 2016, 9:47pm

I've not ridden it, but was out that way a couple of years back and stopped in bike shop in wantage to top up puncture repair kit and asked how i'd fair on the bits near there - they suggested was more mountain bike territory than road/touring bike. There's some nice roads running parallel in places though.

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andrew_s
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Re: The Ridgeway (Western Section)

Postby andrew_s » 4 Dec 2016, 10:57pm

I've done summer rides from Wantage to Compton (meant to be Streatley, but we missed a turn), and Wantage to Avebury on a road bike with 28 mm gatorskins. There were sections with deep 4x4 ruts, which we mostly managed to avoid. Last time I was in that area (Barbury Hill to Avebury) there had been a fair bit of improvement, and there wasn't any rutting and not much vegetation encroachment.

The eastern section is much less continuous than the western, and a lot of it is footpath rather than bridleway or road.

mercalia
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Re: The Ridgeway (Western Section)

Postby mercalia » 4 Dec 2016, 11:07pm

Long time the part around Wantage was very rough stones, mt bike only ground. I used to stay at the Ridgeway YHA that was on the path

simonhill
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Re: The Ridgeway (Western Section)

Postby simonhill » 6 Dec 2016, 5:13am

I rode all of the western section, A4 to Goring in June about 25 years ago. You definitely needed an MTB then. Up to my rear derailleur in mud on some bits. Worst damage was from farmers in their land rovers.

Plenty of places to wild camping, including thew spooky Wayland Smithy.

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Heltor Chasca
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Re: The Ridgeway (Western Section)

Postby Heltor Chasca » 6 Dec 2016, 11:43am

Thanks all. It looks like a good tour although if I was to ride from home, I need long light evenings. I might delay to Spring to allow the land to drain too. Wet chalk I can do but wet clay psyches me out.

I've spent a night at Stoney Littleton longbarrow just off the NCN24. It wasn't the ethereal quality of the mound that disturbed my sleep; I got claustrophobic in the mound so kipped in the grass.

PhilWhitehurst
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Re: The Ridgeway (Western Section)

Postby PhilWhitehurst » 6 Dec 2016, 6:51pm

There's a bit of lane riding around Goring but it's not for long. You can then use Swan's Way a bridleway to rejoin the Ridgeway Bridleway further east. Mountain bike or a cross bike but defo more comfortable on the former.

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Gattonero
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Re: The Ridgeway (Western Section)

Postby Gattonero » 11 Dec 2016, 11:31am

I'm thinking to do it next spring (whenever arrives) or/and when there's more daylight and away from a week of rain.
Will be on an Mtb with fast-rolling 2" tyres, just to be able to float over the loose.

Any reccomendation for wild camping? I have spotted some points around Goring that may do for a "leave-no-trace" overnight.
Thanks
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...

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andrew_s
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Re: The Ridgeway (Western Section)

Postby andrew_s » 12 Dec 2016, 12:49am

Image

Image

A couple of photos taken on the way from Hackpen Hill to East Kennett

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Heltor Chasca
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Re: The Ridgeway (Western Section)

Postby Heltor Chasca » 12 Dec 2016, 9:16pm

Good photos. Shows the variety of surface. MTB is the way to go methinks. My Surly DT would be fine but I'm a lot less precious with my the MTB. Mkes for more fun. I think I'll bivvy. Not long to go before Spring is here anyhow. Gattonero I might even see you out there

sjs
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Re: The Ridgeway (Western Section)

Postby sjs » 13 Dec 2016, 7:16am

The last few miles of the western end near Avebury were very deeply rutted when we walked it in 2009. Hard to walk on at the end of a long hot day. Pub at Avebury very welcome, and gave us a good vantage point to watch the wedding going on in a field nearby among the stones.

Bigdummysteve
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Re: The Ridgeway (Western Section)

Postby Bigdummysteve » 22 Dec 2016, 6:34pm

I rode a section of it on the dummy fully loaded last year, some of the ruts were deeper than bb height. A good tip is to carry on to the Barge inn at honeystreet after avebury, good camp site and cracking pub. I'm planning to ride it end to end in the spring on the ecr, give me a shout if you want ( I don't go fast though)

If your looking for some winter trips I recently rode some great trails and camped up on dunkery beacon ( near porlock) the trail conditions were still good at the end of October

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Heltor Chasca
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Re: The Ridgeway (Western Section)

Postby Heltor Chasca » 22 Dec 2016, 6:53pm

Brilliant. Thanks for the info Steve. That sounds good. So the ECR needs to get out for some fresh air? Let's do it. I would probably ride from Somerset to the Barge in for the 1st night. I'm not planning on a fast one if pubs are in the mix

JBB
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Re: The Ridgeway (Western Section)

Postby JBB » 22 Dec 2016, 11:43pm

Bigdummysteve wrote:I rode a section of it on the dummy fully loaded last year, some of the ruts were deeper than bb height. A good tip is to carry on to the Barge inn at honeystreet after avebury, good camp site and cracking pub. I'm planning to ride it end to end in the spring on the ecr, give me a shout if you want ( I don't go fast though)

If your looking for some winter trips I recently rode some great trails and camped up on dunkery beacon ( near porlock) the trail conditions were still good at the end of October


Our little group stopped there on a Friday night - never again. Music and loud conversation all night; well it stopped about 3 am. I gather this is normal for a weekend.